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Chapter 2
Mr. Weston was a native of Highbury, and born of a respectable family, which for
the last two or three generations had been rising into gentility and property. He
had received a good education, but, on succeeding early in life to a small
independence, had become indisposed for any of the more homely pursuits in
which his brothers were engaged, and had satisfied an active, cheerful mind and
social temper by entering into the militia of his county, then embodied.
Captain Weston was a general favourite; and when the chances of his military life
had introduced him to Miss Churchill, of a great Yorkshire family, and Miss
Churchill fell in love with him, nobody was surprised, except her brother and his
wife, who had never seen him, and who were full of pride and importance, which
the connection would offend.
Miss Churchill, however, being of age, and with the full command of her fortune--
though her fortune bore no proportion to the family-estate--was not to be
dissuaded from the marriage, and it took place, to the infinite mortification of Mr.
and Mrs. Churchill, who threw her off with due decorum. It was an unsuitable
connection, and did not produce much happiness. Mrs. Weston ought to have
found more in it, for she had a husband whose warm heart and sweet temper
made him think every thing due to her in return for the great goodness of being in
love with him; but though she had one sort of spirit, she had not the best. She
had resolution enough to pursue her own will in spite of her brother, but not
enough to refrain from unreasonable regrets at that brother's unreasonable
anger, nor from missing the luxuries of her former home. They lived beyond their
income, but still it was nothing in comparison of Enscombe: she did not cease to
love her husband, but she wanted at once to be the wife of Captain Weston, and
Miss Churchill of Enscombe.
Captain Weston, who had been considered, especially by the Churchills, as
making such an amazing match, was proved to have much the worst of the
bargain; for when his wife died, after a three years' marriage, he was rather a
poorer man than at first, and with a child to maintain. From the expense of the
child, however, he was soon relieved. The boy had, with the additional softening
claim of a lingering illness of his mother's, been the means of a sort of
reconciliation; and Mr. and Mrs. Churchill, having no children of their own, nor
any other young creature of equal kindred to care for, offered to take the whole
charge of the little Frank soon after her decease. Some scruples and some
reluctance the widower-father may be supposed to have felt; but as they were
overcome by other considerations, the child was given up to the care and the
wealth of the Churchills, and he had only his own comfort to seek, and his own
situation to improve as he could.
A complete change of life became desirable. He quitted the militia and engaged
in trade, having brothers already established in a good way in London, which
afforded him a favourable opening. It was a concern which brought just
employment enough. He had still a small house in Highbury, where most of his
leisure days were spent; and between useful occupation and the pleasures of